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Dolphin Migration Reaches Keys

Jenner and K.C.  holding a nice bull dolphin after gaffing him.

Jenner and K.C. holding a nice bull dolphin after gaffing him.



Jenner and K.C. holding a nice bull dolphin after gaffing him.

K.C. Spaulding, Guest Columnist

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Every year in the warmer months, we get a dolphin migration like no other. This is the busiest time of the year for us; sometimes we fish 60 days in a row.

Dolphin, or mahi-mahi, are a really fun fish to catch, and good to eat. You can keep them all year. The size limit is 20 inches from the tip of the nose to the fort of the tail.

Josh Gregis and Spaulding are holding a big bull dolphin after a long fight with the dolphin.

You can catch them all different kinds of ways. My favorite way is to sight fish them – no trolling or snagging. The way to sight fish them is getting set up below the birds and casting live bait or ballyhoo to them while they are swimming. This is the most effective way to catch the big ones.

When you go, the main clues you want to look for is birds, debris, and weed line.  Make sure you are ready because you often can find schools of hundreds.

Sometimes they’re really picky with what they want to eat. Chunked skipjack, squid ballyhoo, and live bait will usually work for the smaller ones. The big ones like live bait or rigged ballyhoo.

The biggest dolphin I have ever caught was 67.5 pounds. It was truly a fish of a lifetime. It was one of the only mahi I gaffed and he didn’t move.

It was one of the roughest days of the year 15-foot waves everywhere. My dad was pulling up to a

This is the color of the fish when they are just taken out of the water before they turn green and dark.

set of birds and thought the fish was a blue tarp. We caught him on a spinning rod 30-pound test with an 80-pound leader on a live pelchard.

Hope everyone is looking forward to summertime and dolphin fishing as much as I am.

K.C. Spaulding is a fourth-generation fisherman on the fishing boat Caribsea, a local family-run and family-owned business.

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Dolphin Migration Reaches Keys